MAPR Faculty Mentors

Fall 2019 MAPR Faculty Mentor List

The following faculty are considering accepting new MAPR applicants into their research programs.  It is strongly suggested that these specific faculty members be considered as potential mentors when completing Part D of the MAPR department application.

This procedure applies to MAPR applicants only.  

Potential Mentors, Fall 2019 Admission

Courtney Ahrens
I am broadly interested in community psychology and the psychology of women. My research focuses on violence against women (e.g., sexual assault, domestic violence) with an emphasis on survivors’ experiences of abuse, help-seeking, and recovery.  

James H. Amirkhan
Stress and coping, health psychology, attribution theory. As a Personality psychologist, I am particularly interested in individual differences in the above domains — e.g., the person-related variables that lead one person to confront a stressor and another to avoid it.  Currently, I am using recently published stress measures (Amirkhan, 2012; 2016) to identify people most likely to develop stress-related disorders.  This includes populations of trauma survivors (Amirkhan & Marckwordt, 2017), university freshmen (Amirkhan & Kofman, 2018), and other high-risk groups.  

Young-Hee Cho
I am broadly interested in factors influencing psychological well-being among elders.  Interested in understanding factors that have impact on elders’ subjective estimation of their life expectancy and the consequence of these estimations on psychological well-being.

Maricela Correa
My research examines the organization of childhood and family life in communities that do not have a long history of participation of schooling.  In particular I examine some of the ways that families organize teaching and learning in everyday family and community life and some of the strengths associated with these forms of learning.  My work has centered on families that have historical roots in the Americas (Mexico and Central America in particular) as well as in immigrant families.

Araceli Gonzalez
I am broadly interested in assessment and treatment of internalizing disorders (i.e., anxiety, depression, traumatic stress, somatic complaints) in children/adolescents and parents. Specifically, my work focuses on (a) trying to understand risk factors for the development of these problems, and how risk and resilience factors might vary in different cultural groups, and (b) developing and improving culturally sensitive mental health services for these problems. I am currently conducting research examining youth stress response during interactions with their anxious parents. I am also conducting a pilot study to examine the role of community mental health workers in delivering a behavioral intervention for anxiety and depression to low-income Latinos in a rural medical setting.

May Ling Halim
In my primary line of research I study how, across different cultural groups, children’s gender identities develop from preschool to early elementary school. I am interested in both adherence to gender norms (i.e., girls wearing pink from head to toe) and deviation from gender norms (i.e., tomboys). I also investigate what factors lead to differences in gender identities (e.g., cognition), as well as what consequences are associated with them (e.g., intergroup gender attitudes, interest in STEM-related fields, psychological adjustment).  In my secondary line of research I study how forms of group-based discrimination (ethnic, gender, language) interact with one’s identity in affecting one’s personal health and the health of one’s child. 

Danielle Kohfeldt   
Dr. Kohfeldt joined the CSULB psychology department in 2016.  She received her B.A. in psychology and English literature from the University of San Diego, her M.S. in Social Work from San Diego State University, and her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of California Santa Cruz.  As a social-community psychologist Dr. Kohfeldt is interested in contexts that support members of subordinated groups as social change agents.  Her program of research focuses broadly on formal and informal learning environments (e.g., after-school programs, community organizing groups) and how these environments facilitate or hinder individual and collective empowerment and well-being.  To this end, Dr. Kohfeldt’s work is community-based, collaborative, and informed by interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives and multiple methods that often combine arts and activism.  Dr. Kohfeldt currently teaches Social Psychology, Community Psychology, and Psychology of Women.  She is particularly interested in engaging undergraduate and graduate students as co-researchers. 

Karissa Miller   
My research focuses on the psychosocial determinants of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, with a particular emphasis on the pathways  (endocrine, autonomic) through which health disparities in CVD may arise. I am particularly interested in threat appraisal, and examining how individual differences in attention to threat might contribute to sociodemographic health disparities. This work involves examining whether social disadvantage is reflected in heightened attentional vigilance for threat, and testing whether computerized threat bias interventions might be used to improve cardiovascular health.

William Pedersen   
My research is focused on factors that impact aggressive behavior and violence. I am interested in a variety of personality factors including trait rumination, narcissism, impulsivity, and religiosity. I have also investigated a variety of situational factors that impact aggression including collective rumination, priming aspects of religion, resource inequality, alcohol priming, and social exclusion.  A related line of research investigates the impact of trait displaced aggression on romantic relationships, life satisfaction, and both mental and physical health.  Please see my lab website for more information (   

Yada Treesukosol 
Taste cues and feeding behavior.  My research takes advantage of animal models to ask questions related to how oral signals (e.g. taste, smell, texture) send information to the brain to control feeding and drinking behavior.  My approach is to use physiological procedures (e.g. pharmacology, electrophysiology, genetic manipulations) combined with behavioral measures (e.g. meal patterns, detection thresholds, preference).  This allows us to begin to tease apart the relative contributions of oral stimulation, post-ingestive cues and reward-related mechanisms to eating behavior.  Such studies contribute to efforts to reveal how the system is organized and in turn may also identify potential targets for therapeutic interventions for eating disorders and obesity-related complications.  

Guido Urizar
My research in the area of Health Psychology has focused on how stress can lead to adverse health outcomes. Specifically, this research has examined how biological, behavioral, and psychosocial factors can influence health. The primary objective of this research is to identify groups that are at-risk for chronic health problems and to develop and test community-based interventions that are designed to promote chronic disease prevention and management in low-income, ethnic minority, and other medically underserved populations. Specific areas of my research include examining the impact of stress and its biomarkers (e.g., cortisol) on health, identifying risk factors for adverse maternal and infant health outcomes, and evaluating the efficacy of health behavior programs (e.g., exercise, nutrition, stress management) on preventing stress-related disorders. For more information about my PRO-Health research group, please refer to the following web site:

Amy Wax
My research interests broadly include diversity in the workplace, teamwork, and social network analysis. Currently, my stream of research investigates women’s issues and LGBTQ issues at work. 

Bradley Weisz
Broadly speaking, my research centers on understanding how stigma and societal stereotypes can contribute to academic and health disparities between advantaged and disadvantaged social groups. Specifically, I have two different, but related, lines of research. My first line of research focuses on understanding how stigma based on  intersecting social identities can harm students’ academic achievement, and how brief social-psychological interventions can be used to combat this underachievement. My second line of research focuses on understanding the mental and physical health consequences of possessing stigmatized identities that can be concealed or hidden from others (e.g., mental illness; low social class), and how people can effectively cope with this form of stigma (e.g., disclosure, social support).

Arturo Zavala
Areas of interests include animal models of drug addiction and developmental neuropsychopharmacology.  Specifically, my research investigates the short- and long-term neurochemical and behavioral effects of exposure to psychostimulant drugs across development (neonatal, adolescence, and adulthood), as well as determine the impact that early exposure to drugs may have on the susceptibility to abuse drugs later in life.